Thursday, June 28, 2007

Griffith Jones, Llanddowror: Retrospective

Griffith Jones was a great man, blessed with an 'awakening ministry.' It was his task to preach the Gospel in the days before it shone forth in the great awakening, as well as to teach a nation to read of the great works of God for itself. If, in his reaction to the Methodist awakening, he showed himself to be concerned for the unity of the Church more than for the Gospel, it must be noted in his defence that this was not out of a desire for place or promotion, but out of a zeal for his schools, which depended on the good will of the clergy, as well as a recognition that the impetuosity of youth is not always a good thing.

Space has not permitted me to present the theology of the man, but it ought to be noted that he was a churchman, holding to a Baxterian, rather than a strictly Calvinistic theology.

His educational plans, celebrated by nonconformists and churchmen, had as their object strictly religious aims. This was why the medium of instruction was Welsh. While English was the language to make money, that took time to teach, time that people might not have before they were called into eternity.

The method of instruction was the catechism of the Church of England, for Griffith Jones was a churchman. While the nonconformists might have praised his efforts as events of the past, men like Lloyd George would not have appreciated (the young Lloyd George refused to answer the catechism questions at his school). Indeed, politicised Nonconformity would demand that Christian doctrine not be taught in schools as it was 'sectarian.' Griffith Jones would, no doubt, have had some choice words to say about such "education!"

The primary business of education for a Christian should be to show children the way of salvation. To fit a child for the next world, and only secondarily for this world. That was Griffith Jones' vision of education.



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